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Cylinder Liner Issue Avoid 1997-Mid 2000 Cars?

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So if one has not purchased a V8 Esprit yet, would the majority opinion be to avoid the cars manufactured before the midpoint of MY2000 when Lotus changed the material lining the cylinders? The newer cars command a higher price (all other things being equal) which means delaying the purchase; but then I would hate to buy the car and then also have to put out for major engine repairs.

Thanks,

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So if one has not purchased a V8 Esprit yet, would the majority opinion be to avoid the cars manufactured before the midpoint of MY2000 when Lotus changed the material lining the cylinders? The newer cars command a higher price (all other things being equal) which means delaying the purchase; but then I would hate to buy the car and then also have to put out for major engine repairs.

Thanks,

Depends - if the liners have failed and the PO can show the engine was rebuilt after 2000 then there shouldn't be a problem. I think the general opinion is that most of the dodgy engines have now been rebuilt.

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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Thanks for all the responses. I'll be careful with anything that has engine/coolant issues in it's history; but seems there's no reason to avoid a car with a proper, documented maintenance record and no issues in that area.

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Remember not all v8 engines (pre 2000) have had a liner problem

That's true.

I think someone did some research into this and speculated that the problem wasn't with the sealant but the curing procedure - Lotus weren't leaving it for long enough. So if the liners were sealed on Monday and allowed to cure overnight with the build continuing on Tuesday they would fail. But if the liners were sealed on Friday and left over the weeked before continuing the build on Monday they would be fine. Of course it's just a theory - if this was true and Lotus admitted to it they would have been liable for all the rebuild costs.

But beware of buying a pre-2000 V8 which hasn't been rebuilt. The owner may swear blind there's no issue when in fact they're topping up a litre every week. At the end of the day it will be sold as seen and the PO can simply claim the problem arose after the sale...


May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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I was told by a VERY knowledable source that there never has been a problem with the liner sealant and that the sealant was only changed to increase the temperature parameters within which it operated effectively before breaking down.

This was due to the liner failures being cause by the engines being run over temperature due to blocked radiators/inoperative fans etc...... The new sealant is more resiliant to an engine being run over temperature and therefore is less likely to fail in the event of an enging being overheated by an owner.

Simon


Chunky Lover

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Thats what I was told too by someone who worked at the factory between 98 and 2001.Thats why I used to check the water in my car after every journey along with the operation of the fans.....

Of course you can't tell if a car has overheated prior to you buying,and you can cook any engine if you boil it dry enough, whether its had the liner sealant done or not.

Just look after the car......................Thats the motto!!!!

Rich

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But weren't some rebuilds done on very low mileage cars where the cooling system must have been fine? Also, on the new dash at least, the big red coolant light starts flashing at you if the temperature goes above 105'C!


May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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If thats the case then either my light doesn't work or my gauge is out. Driving down the highway it is always rock solid at about 87 degrees. Sit in rush hour traffic for awhile and the engine will rise to 105-110 degrees before dropping down. It always slowly rises and at 100 degrees you can hear the fans kick in but temps seem to keep rising up til 105-110 before dropping down to mid 90's. Soon as you get onto the open road again temps down to normal. My car is a '99 with no history(that i've found) of the engine being rebuilt. I think the whole liner sealant was just a bit of a problem on a few batches of engines. My belief is that if it hasn't happened yet it won't happen.

On a side note, what color is everyones antifreeze? When I tested it this fall it came out pretty much clear with a tinge of pink to it. Thought that was odd. It came out rated at -15 degrees celsius.

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Simon and Rich, I couldnt agree more, I went nuts sifting through all this info before I bought my S350. I had a deep discussion with our service agent here in NZ about this dreaded saga. Our guy swears black and blue to flush/ recore radiators on a regular basis to keep on top of this issue. Hes only ever seen one case of liner problem, but was a case of bad maintenance in the cooling dept to cause the glue failing.

I had a look at my cars radiator while up on the hoist, and quite frankly I am disgusted at the state its in and how it could be left in such a shoddy state, its amazing its cooling at all. Its one of the first jobs to be done after I get the car home.

Edited by kyliesmith.com

350.gifNo.23

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I swapped my radiator for a Griffin aluminum one with Spal fans, a little pricey but excellent insurance. For a little cheaper one could recore the existing rad to a 4 core.

post-87-1200031121.jpg

post-87-1200031137.jpg

Edited by fmxa

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!

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I would check your rad is not blocked. mine used to rise to 110 and drop to 90, seems you may have rubbish between the airc onditioning condensor and the rad. I changed the WHOLE cooling system rad, pipes, coolant, the lot. It now sits at 80 and rises to 100 in traffic and returns back to 90. When on the motor way it sits at about 80 to 85.

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Hi Neal,

I have had this conversation with the chap I know and he says all the ones he saw or heard of were because the engine got too hot first.Yes that could be because of a fault on a nearly new car.Say if a pipe had a defect or something failed causing a large loss of water this would happen.

Stopping straight away also helps.My wife ahd a belt jump off our Range Rover when it was a year old.She panicked a bit as the lack of water pump was causing masses of steam etc and carried on driving to the dealer by which time the engine had all but seized.

Mine was a 99 car and the needle used to just nudge 103 ish before comeing ringt down again. Not once did I see the light though which I understood to be set off at 110 degrees. If yours is coming on earlier have you checked through ODB what the actual temp is against the guages.For instance my guage used to say 90 deg and the laptop was 85 .

Its abit like the old Triumph Stag issue. My dad had one new and people told him not to buy one as those alloy engines overheat and blow up. Well no actually,they do if you let them run dry of water etc etc.

Rich

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I think all of what has been said has truth in it. I have had (year and a half ago) a major engine rebuild, and when opened up the liners had clearly degraded. BUT I did have an overheat. The blow off cap failed and whilst sitting in traffic the temperature went up, and didn't stop going up. I pulled straight to the side of the road. From that day on the car seemed fine, but started using water (which it had never done before) and then started using more, and so I took it in.

Since the rebuild it has not used ANY water.

The problem is that Lotus are completely correct in saying that whilst operating under normal conditions the liner sealant is not an issue, which it is not. If however you have something that causes an overheat (which can be as cheap and as trivial as the blow off cap failing to pressure the system properly) then it is like driving with a sword of Damacles over your car. If your engine overheats for any reason whatsoever then odds are you may have developed this problem with the old standard of sealant.

The comment was also right that the new sealant is not a wonder cure, it just means that the engine (sealant) is a bit more tolerant of elevated temperatures, and so can whithstand failure in the cooling system a bit better.

The problem with the Esprit, is no matter how much maintenance goes on, you cannot stop mechnical failure completely (actually any car). You end up driving along watching the temperature gauge (not good). By the time the light has come on it could be (and probably is) too late.

My advise. Buy either a later model, or one that has had an engine rebuild and has the new spec sealant. Cars that have not had the problem probably haven't had any cause to, as they have not overheated (have suffered no problem with the cooling system). However that does not preclude anything happening in the future, and you are then susceptible to this liner problem. I bought mine when the wisdom was that pre 99 cars had the problem and after this was OK. Actually this was when the problem started to surface, but they still had loads of engines built and kept using them until mid 2000. So my MY1999 was on the old sealant.

Beware, or you face multiple k rebuild costs (actually whilst my engine was out you come to the conclusion, dependant on milage, that you may as well replace clutch and belts and auxillaries etc etc etc, and so you end up with a very hefty bill indeed. It just means I am keeping my car forever :D)

Phil B

Edited by Phil_B

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